Welcome to CAFL Grand Final weekend - Stuart Totham


As the curtain draws on another fantastic TIO CAFL season, it’s timely to reflect on all that has been achieved in a remarkable year for footy in Central Australia.

Things started off nicely when the first AFLW game between Melbourne and Collingwood rolled out in February, with both teams reporting how welcoming the community was and their enjoyment in coming to the Red Centre.

That friendly spirit continued into the Easter long weekend and the successful Country Clash carnival where spectators were treated to raw talent and enthralling skills and tricks.   

When Sir Doug Nicholls Round was launched by the AFL in Alice Springs, we couldn’t have asked for a better day. The first-ever Central Australia Redtails versus Top End Storm game showcased to the nation just how passionate Territorians are about their footy. The cultural ceremony was inspiring, and getting a packed TIO Traeger Park for the big game between Melbourne and Adelaide further cemented our position as the football heartland of Australia.

The two NT Thunder games were well received with the community rallying to support their men and women in the NEAFL and VFLW competitions. Thunder love playing at home in Alice Springs, and we’re looking to increase our visits in future years. 

That was just one of the points raised at our recent TIO CAFL Footy Forum, and I look forward to coming down again in a couple of weeks and sharing the other outcomes and working with you to set down the next steps for footy in Central Australia. 

But for now, we stop to celebrate the CAFL this weekend. With the top four only settled in Round 15 and Rovers going down to both Feds and South by a point in the lead-up, it really could be anyone’s day. I expect the battle for the CAWFL Premiership will also be hotly contested, and I can’t wait to see what unfolds in the Country League and Community Cups.

This weekend’s grand finals couldn’t happen without the tireless work of so many. Clubs, players, umpires, parents, volunteers, sponsors, fans and the AFLNT administration team. Thank you all for your continued support and dedication and for indeed making this the greatest game of all. 

From Auskick to Thunder Juniors and right through to the senior grades and the AFL, be proud of all we have achieved so far this year. Enjoy the footy this weekend and best wishes to all competing teams.

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